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Sales Figures Prove the Volkswagen GTI Is Criminally Underrated

The 2020 Volkswagen GTI is ranked No. 1 on U.S. News’ list of Best Compact Cars in the small sedan class. The sporty hatchback is not only fun to drive, but it packs a powerful punch and is filled with upscale features.

Experts in the automotive industry consistently give the GTI rave reviews, and Consumer Reports indicates a four-out-of-five predicted owner satisfaction rate. So, why aren’t consumers purchasing the GTI?

Highlights of the Volkswagen GTI

The 2020 Volkswagen GTI offers 228 hp from a turbocharged engine that provides a good deal of power. With a quick response time and fast acceleration, the GTI is a lot of car for a small price. Starting at less than $30,000 MSRP, the vehicle offers awe-inspiring features that are typically above its price point.

Car and Driver is a fan of the Volkswagen GTI, continually ranking it among the top 10 best cars year after year. When reviewing the car, they referred to it as “affordable, efficient, spacious, fast, and fun.”

Ranked No. 1 by U.S. News

U.S. News chose the 2020 Volkswagen GTI as their No. 1 choice because of the ease of handling on both crowded city streets and fast-moving highways. U.S. News took note of the comfortable high-end seats as well as the cargo-carrying capacity that is well beyond spacious compared to other vehicles in the compact car class. 

They were impressed with not only the infotainment system but the standard driver assistance features that made driving the GTI enjoyable. U.S. News stated, “the GTI should be a top candidate for any compact car or hatchback shopper because it delivers on every front.”

Available trim levels for the 2020 Volkswagen GTI

The 2020 Volkswagen GTI has two available trim levels in this year’s model. The S trim starts at $28,595 and includes advanced safety features with a 228-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine. The Driving Mode selection and limited-slip differential lock make this trim stand apart from other similar-sized vehicles.

The SE trim has an MSRP starting price of $32,195 and includes an upgraded LED front lighting system, a powered tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof, and leather interior surfaces. The Autobahn trim level is not available on the 2020 GTI but instead is an add-on package that can be included in the SE trim.

For an additional $4,300, the vehicle can be equipped with a dual-zone climate system, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and adaptive cruise control.

Comparable sales figures

Consistently positive reviews have not been able to encourage consumers to purchase the Volkswagen GTI. Sales figures have been really low across the last several years, compared to other models in its class.

In 2019, the GTI sold 37,993 units in contrast to the Honda Civic, which sold 325,650 units and the Toyota Corolla, which sold 304,850 units. The Q1 sales for 2020 for the GTI came in at 7,700 units with similar sales reported for the first quarter of 2019. Despite the great ratings, these numbers are proof that the Volkswagen GTI remains criminally underrated.

The 2021 Volkswagen GTI

We probably won’t see the 2021 Volkswagen GTI in North America until the middle of next year. But, when the eighth generation makes its appearance, the GTI will be sure to please.

The turbocharged four-cylinder engine will pair with either a six-speed manual transmission or seven-speed dual-clutch option. Increased power in the newer model means 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Promises of technology upgrades with digital instruments and a central infotainment display with an ambient lighting system have VW fans excited about the possibilities. The most exciting part of the coming GTI is that the nostalgic plaid seats remain as a favorite option.